Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why No Revival?

Have you wondered why it has been over one hundred years since a revival swept our nation?

Dan Puckett, of Life Action Revival Ministries takes a very good stab at the answer...

"There are revival meetings—times when the church seeks the Living God of Heaven for spiritual renewal and a spiritual awakening among the lost. But why has not God answered in such a significant way that even the “nay-sayers” would have to admit a divine happening had occurred?

Revival is an undeniable intervention of God. The Old Testament book of Nehemiah records such an event in chapters 8 and 9.

There have been three divine interventions in the history of the United States: the first in the early to mid 1700’s, the second around the turn of the 19th century continuing into the 1840’s, and the third in 1857-1860. The work of God was so apparent during these times that the news reporters could not but assent that the happenings were of divine origin.

What about today? Where is the Lord God of revival?

The Old Testament book of Malachi was written after the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity just before the 400 years of silence, preceding the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Malachi was a prophet of God and was rebuking the people for their lack of faithfulness. The people were practicing religion but with duplicity of heart. They were giving polluted offerings (Malachi 1:7), the priests were corrupt (2:8), people were not faithful to marriage vows (2:14-15), and they were not giving as much as God asked (3:8-9).

In all of these rebukes, God still extended mercy. He says in Malachi 3:6-7, “I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you.”

God’s presence in power, glory, and blessing is promised if the people will repent of their ways and return to God. God repeats their question in Malachi 3:7, “In what way shall we return?” And He gives the answer in verses 8-12.

“In what way shall we return?” was and is the question of the hour.

In the book of Malachi, God goes right after the people’s giving (or lack of it) in chapter 3, verse 8: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me . . . in tithes and offerings.”

God did not go after the corrupt priests or marital infidelity, even though both were present; He went after the heart issue of selfishness and deceit. If a man robs God, what else will He do? If he cheats the One who sees all and knows all, what would keep him from taking bribes, playing favorites, or being unfaithful to his wife? Could it be that robbing God in tithes and offerings was and is the root issue that holds back the blessings of God in revival?

The giving level per member in current churches is said to be about three percent of income. A tithe is ten percent of income, plus offerings on top of that. It would appear that God has as much a case against us as He did against the people in Malachi’s time. There are many excuses we could give, but the fact is, our lack of giving is the greatest evidence of our corrupt faith.

God is not particularly practical, in our thinking, as He receives offerings. In Old Testament times the offerings were killed and burnt on the altar. The only benefit God received, other than seeing the sacrifice of the people and their trust in the Giver of all, is the smell of the offering as it wafted up to heaven.

God gave a promise in Malachi 3:10-12. He told the people that if they gave tithes and offerings as prescribed, He would “open for [them] the windows of heaven and pour out for [them] such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). He summed up this promise in verse 12: “All the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land.”

Does that sound like revival? Could the key to seeing and experiencing the manifest presence of God in our day, in our land, be repenting of our churlishness and being biblical givers?"

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